Championship round-up: Kevin Phillips feasts on Tangerines to put promotion on the menu


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The Independent Football

Kevin Phillips struck against his former club as Leicester City closed in on a place in the Premier League next season with an emphatic 3-1 defeat of Blackpool at the King Power Stadium yesterday.

A fourth win a row for Nigel Pearson's side stretched their unbeaten run to 16 games and took the runaway Championship leaders 17 points clear of Derby in third place.

Although they dominated the first half, Leicester fell behind in the 41st minute when they failed to clear a long throw-in and David Goodwillie scored from close range.

But the hosts stormed to their 25th win of the season with second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan and 40-year-old Phillips – who spent two years at Bloomfield Road – leaving the Tangerines deep in relegation trouble. Scott Arfield's second-half winner ensured Burnley remain on course for the second automatic promotion spot after they beat Leeds United 2-1 at Turf Moor.

Ross McCormack put Leeds in front in the first half but Brian McDermott's side lost the lead when Jason Pearce scored an own goal. Arfield fired home the winner in the 67th minute to stretch Burnley's unbeaten league run to 14 games. Derby's goalless draw at Reading further strengthened the grip of the top two in the table.

Morrison's extra value

Ravel Morrison maintained his superb form for Queens Park Rangers with two goals in his side's 3-0 home victory against Yeovil Town.

The on-loan West Ham midfielder, had scored twice against Birmingham City last Saturday to earn a first win in six attempts for Harry Redknapp.

Another former West Ham player, Bobby Zamora, was also on target yesterday – claiming his first goal in more than a year as fourth-placed Rangers bounced back from their midweek defeat at Brighton.

Rhodes' Rovers return

Jordan Rhodes returned to haunt Huddersfield Town with a hat-trick in Blackburn's 4-2 victory at the John Smith's Stadium.

The Scotland striker, 24, who left Town for a club record £8m, put Rovers in front after four minutes following Rudy Gestede's flick from a long ball. He struck again in the 55th minute by heading in off the post from Craig Conway's cross. Blackburn went 3-1 up 10 minutes later thanks to a blunder from Alex Smithies. Rhodes then pounced on a mistake by Adam Clayton to complete his hat-trick.

Eighth wonder of Wigan

James McClean scored twice as Wigan made it eight straight wins in all competitions with a 3-1 triumph at Ipswich Town. Tommy Smith gave the home side a lead that lasted just two minutes, McClean equalising before Leon Barnett put Wigan ahead at the interval. McClean made the points safe in the 76th minute.

Defoe at the double

The England striker Jermain Defoe scored twice for his new club Toronto at Seattle Sounders as the former Tottenham forward tries to keep his name in the frame for a World Cup place in Brazil this summer.